Alsike Clover in the Lawn
Is clover in the lawn a good thing or a bad thing? Lawns used to be planted with a mixture of clover and turfgrass seed. Clover is a nitrogen-fixing legume that naturally builds up nutrients in the soil. Alsike Clover is a short lived perennial clover that is often used as a forage plant for pasturelands, as opposed to being mixed with turfgrass. Is alsike clover a good addition to your lawn, or should you try to remove it? If you want to remove it, what's the best way to go about it? Here's what you need to know about alsike clover.
About Alsike Clover
Alsike clover is a short-lived perennial weed that is sometimes grown as a biennial. It can grow up to two feet tall, but when maintained as part of a regular mowing pattern, does not usually reach that height. The plant has pinkish-white flowers along the stems and compound three to four part leaves.
Should you Leave Clover or Eliminate it?
Clover has many benefits for home lawns. It's drought-tolerant, easy to grow, improves the soil, and encourages healthy turf growth. Clover is most often found in more northern areas mixed in with cool-season turf. Cool-season grasses are usually mowed at taller heights, and the clover blends better with the leaf color and texture. Clover tends to "stick out" more in warm-season turf growing in transitional areas.
Whether you choose to leave clover in the lawn or eradicate it is a matter of personal preference. Because of a fairly extensive root system, it can be difficult to eliminate .
Getting Rid of Alsike Clover
To rid the lawn of Alsike clover, you'll need to use a post-emergent herbicide for broadleaf weeds. Not all post emergent herbicides are created equal, so take care to get one that is labeled for control of alsike clover. You can also use glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup®, but you can't broadcast glyphosate over the entire lawn, as it will also kill the grass. Glyphosate is what is called a "broad spectrum herbicide" and kills almost every type of plant material it comes into contact with.
Alsike Clover in Pastures
If you pasture horses in your backyard, you will want to control Alsike clover, or, at the very least, avoid letting your animals into the pasture when it is wet. Animals that eat a large amount of this plant can get sick and even die. So, in the lawn, this plant isn't necessarily a problem, but in animal pasture it can be.